The Donkey
Perhaps you may have seen the donkey, though it is not very common in this country.
It has some resemblance to a horse, but is not as large, and generally seems rather if
we let pride stay in our hearts?
The donkey is very gentle and patient, and does not seem angry even when he has a
very heavy load to carry. I should be very sorry to have him treated unkindly. Though
he seems so dull, he loves his master, and will sometimes find him out and run to him
even when he is in a crowd of men. God says, in the Bible, "The ox knoweth his owner,
and the donkey his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not
consider." Is it not a sad thing that the dull donkey should be more grateful than we
are?
Would it not seem to you very wonderful to hear a dog or a horse speak, so that you
could understand what he said? It would be a strange thing indeed-a miracle; but you
will find in the 22d chapter of Numbers that an donkey once spoke to his master. The
master's name was Balaam. He was a wicked man, and he was riding on an donkey to
a place where he knew God did not wish him to go. As they were journeying an angel
with a drawn sword in his hand stood in the way, but Balaam did not see him. The
donkey saw him, and was so afraid that she turned aside out of the road, and went
into a field; then Balaam was angry and tried to drive her back into the way. They had
now come to a path of the vineyards, having a wall on each side, and there the donkey
saw the bright angel again. In trying to avoid the angel, the donkey crushed Balaam's
foot against the wall; and he was more angry and struck her again. Then the angel
went forward a little distance, and stood where the path was so narrow that it was
impossible to pass him. The donkey was now so much frightened that she would go no
farther, and fell down in the road; and Balaam beat her in a great passion. Then the
donkey spoke to Balaam and said, "What have I done to thee that thou hast smitten
me these three times?" And when Balaam exclaimed, "I wish there were a sword in my
hand, for now would I kill thee," she only replied, "Am I not thine donkey upon which
thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto
thee?" Can we not learn, even from the donkey, a lesson of meekness and patience?
The wild donkey is often mentioned in the Bible, as in Psalm 104:11. "They (the
springs) give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst."
They live in desert places, and go about in great companies with one for their leader.
You will find these words about them in the 39th chapter of Job: "Who hath sent out
the wild donkey free ? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild donkey? Whose house
I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He scorneth the
multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the
mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing." Travellers who
have seen great herds of wild donkeys say that the beautiful animal agrees exactly
with this fine description, written so many years ago.